The best camping near
Shawnee National Forest, ILLINOIS

261 Reviews122 Campgrounds
Camping Illinois Shawnee National Forest
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Most Recent Shawnee National Forest Camping Reviews
FULL HOOK UPS!

One of the best camping views of the mississippi river! The campsite overlooks the mighty mississippi river and oh what a view it is, watching tugboats move barges up and down. Very clean well maintained, very large grassy area for lots of room for kids to run around. One downfall is the railroad track between the campsite and the river, loud trains rolling thru every few hours. Noisy, but a neat memory for children to see. Also a great sand beach water feature nearby at lake bouton. Some average length trails and a nice short trail for the littles.

Remote camping next to hiking trails

This is a surprisingly good discovery. The sites are large and covered in gravel. Plenty of room for multiple tents. The woods are filled with poison ivy so the big camp area is very useful. There are a few vault toilets scattered around that are ok but not the best we’ve seen. A hand pump for water is near the garbage cans. We found plenty of empty sites but people were starting to fill them in. I imagine it might get full for the weekend. 

Just around the corner(or down the trail at the start of camp) is a network of hiking trails. They scurry around cliffs, falls and ravines. We found small pools perfect for a summer dip. Half the hikers were carrying towels so it must be a common plan. 

We didn’t do much hiking because our dog kept trying to hike right into the poison ivy. This would have been better with our dog sitting this one out. 

At only$10 per night, this is a great deal.

Closed (2019) but may open again

The drive quickly takes you down smaller and smaller roads. We didn’t see campground signs but there are small signs pointing the way to the Egyptian Hills Recreation area. Seeing a couple pyramids by mailboxes enticed us to continue. Online reviews said it was a good camp. 

The road is deceptively smooth. Ruts and water crossings appear suddenly. The creek looks like it overflowed. This is why I’m assuming that they will reopen. 

We drove until the locked gate kept us out. The area looks wooded and beautiful. It’s a spot to check out when they open again.

Fun

My friend and I went there one summer and had the best time of our life

Raccoon Heavy but...

Giant City is otherwise wonderful. A site wasn't hard to get in June, the campground is quiet and beautifully green with decent space between sites, the hiking trails are A+, and kid-friendly as long as you don't let them climb too high. The kids were able to ride bikes through the campground. Raccoons were numerous and fearless, and kept approaching us at the playground, around the fire at night and kept our friends who were camping with us up all night. We slept through. You can buy firewood at the stable, and I was pleasantly surprised it was properly seasoned and dry. We run into bad firewood often when buying at state parks. Overall Giant City is great and we will return.

Nicely set up wooded spots

Very Quiet when we stayed in December for a night. Spots in the woods and by the Lake can’t hear traffic. Bathrooms warm Showers Hot. Would love to be here in spring or Fall.

Nice get away

We pulled in and couldn’t believe the gorgeous grounds The manager/owner had just purchased the resort this spring we visited 10/19 the park was quaint Easy space for us to access w slide outs and nice roads the ponds were beautiful we enjoyed watching the kids fish!

Shaded sites right on Rend Lake

This COE campground is conveniently located and just a quick off ramp from the Interstate. I stayed here one night as I headed south from Chicago. The one night only ultimately turned out to be a blessing. It seemed that I inadvertently booked a site in the middle of a family reunion. I don’t mind a good party, but when you leave your dog tethered to visit at other campsites and your dog is barking for hours, well, that’s not okay. 

I was in site 30, located directly on the water in the Nighthawk campground. Site 29 is very close and the picnic bench is literally 8 feet away from the back of the pad of site 30.  The class A rig in the video belonged to my neighbor, so you can see how close the sites were. Don’t expect much in the way of privacy. Otherwise, the site is shaded and fairly level with a nice lake view and direct access. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t awake to sounds of nature. Early in the morning the sawing and woodchipping began. To make matters worse it was windy. All the woodchopping and sawdust was flying in the air which required us to close windows and hunker down inside until the park crew finished their work. I understand that maintaining the park is important, but why on a busy camping weekend? 

The restrooms were a short walk across the road and up the slope from site 30. I didn’t use the facilities, so can’t speak to their functionality or cleanliness. I like to camp at lakes because I enjoy kayaking and this lake would allow for all kinds of water activities which is a plus. 

Also, if you haven’t made a reservation and decide to do a walk up make sure you have cash. A couple was turned away and told to get cash because they don’t take credit cards or checks. 

I might stay here again as a layover spot because of its convenient location to the interstate, but it wouldn’t be a destination for me.

Great campground

Turtle is great. She runs the campground and loves kids. Campground is on the lake. Has a beach for swimming and you can rent all the fun items like paddle boards, kayaks, and boats.
Some of the sites are a bit close together, would have liked a bit more space but it worked out very well.
Good place to fish.
Shower had hot water!! 😋

Other reviews must be old

Let’s start with the good. The outhouses were clean and it was pretty cheap. Ok,on to all of the not so great. The trails were VERY unkept and there was poison ivy at nearly every step, the entry map shows a beach- there might have been 5 years ago but now absolutely nothing that even resembled a place to swim. If I hadn’t been tricked into thinking it was a decent campground, I might not have been as disappointed but we were looking for a specific type of camping experience and this place failed to meet even the lowest of expectations.